Eric Schmidt, a fellow deputy and friend, was among those who paid tribute. "I cannot answer the questions when my kids ask, 'Daddy, who's going to fix the garage door?' or 'Daddy, why did Joel have to die?' Joel was our friend, we're going to miss him," said Schmidt.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims also addressed the crowd and thanked the families of all officers who serve. "Our families allow us to serve. They allow our law enforcement agencies to share with them the ones the love to do the job they dearly love," said Sheriff Mims.
Some in the crowd didn't know deputy Wahlenmaier personally but have family members in law enforcement. "I think we should more support, on something like this. These officers put themselves in the line of duty, and they do it for public safety," said Luis Haros. Haros attended the ceremony because his brother is in law enforcement.
After the ceremony, a small group of cadets remained at attention with their candles still burning. They said it was important to be at the memorial to show solidarity with the law enforcement community. "All of these officers, they go through so much that the public doesn't know about. Sacrifices with their families, long hours," said Blanca Perez.
"That's the type of brotherhood I want to be a part of. If something goes down in Fresno, I know I have all of these officers here with me, protecting me. Even though they may not know my name ... just that brotherhood is very important," said Milfred Miles.